Yes folks, it's school play time. Roll up! Roll up! And watch how mothers transform their 6 year olds into ... squirrels. I have no recollection of the Charlie & the Chocolate Factory scene involving squirrels but apparently they're vindictive little beasties who get rid of a vile child. Well done them.
All us parents were asked to do was supply a brown shirt and trousers. The school would supply the tails. Simple right.
We don't have any brown trousers in our house. We used to. But my six year old now has grey school trousers, blue jeans and one pair of cream chinos. That's it. My four year old has a pair of brown shorts. But they nowhere near fit his brother. So we headed into town in search of brown bottoms.
Funnily, brown is not a particularly popular colour for children's clothes in the height of summer. So we charged off to the British Heart Foundation charity shop in the hope of a cast off. Nothing. Then onto the Cancer Awareness shop. Nothing. Then Save the Children (save the mother more like it) shop. They were closed. In a last ditch attempt to find something by tomorrow's pressing deadline, I headed into TK Maxx. Twenty bazillion rows of pink clothes, just the one with boys stuff. And on that lone rail, hung one pair of brown trousers. And like a gift from the Gods, it was actually in age 6. Perfect.
Except that they're sort of shiny brown with patches on them with zig zaggy bottoms. I think it's part of a dress up outfit. Possibly a pirate. Or waif. Or street urchin. But it cost £1. So I bought them. Jobs a good un. Home we go, because at least we have a brown t-shirt.
Or so I thought. Apparently, the brown t-shirt which belongs to the 4 year old, is 'scratchy'. So scratchy indeed that 6 year old could barely stand it against his sensitive skin for longer than a nano-second.
So we tried on a khaki coloured shirt. Wrong colour and just as scratchy. So we tried on a teeny age 3 t-shirt. It looked fine apart from his exposed midriff. "Too small," was the lament. So we tried one of my plain brown Boden tops. "Too big," he cried. So we tried on his brown shirt with the camper van on front. "A squirrel wouldn't wear a camper van on its chest," he yelled. (Well they bloody do in Cornwall I'm sure). So we tried a sort of orangey shirt. Sigh. "It's ookaaay,"I guess he grumbled. "If I have to wear it. If there's nothing else AT ALL."
Insert very large sigh here from me.
So I rummaged in my old sailing bag and found a once white long sleeve t-shirt that had had its sleeves removed somewhere around the equator. It was slightly grey with sweat stained armpits, but he found it comfy. "I want this," one he said.
Marvellous. Except it's white. And I have to hand this in tomorrow and don't have any brown dye lying handily around the house.
Never fear. Twitter and Facebook to the rescue. General consensus is that tea will do the job. Sure he'll smell funny, but beggars can't be choosers.
I find a box of English breakfast tea that must have been won in a tombola a while ago because it was past its use by date. Perfect. 15 teabags go in in a bowl of hot water, including the strategic addition of a few Rooibos bags to add a slightly reddish tinge - after all, I don't know many brown squirrels, just red and grey varieties. And besides, his pirate pants are a more reddy brown anyway.
Well wouldn't you know it, the white t-shirt is now the perfect shade of brown to match the pants. What a result.
My son is insisting on setting off the entire ensemble with my brown faux fur gilet. It makes him look ever so slightly like a gay squirrel pirate on the pull, but whatever, I have fulfilled my maternal obligation and shall present him at school tomorrow with it all nicely tucked into a labelled bag.
Then I shall sit back and wait for the embarrassment of opening night when all the other mothers get to view my attempt at costume design...